Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) last week introduced the bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019. The bill, co-sponsoredy by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and Reps. TJ Cox (D-Calif.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), would ease the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy rules, making more families eligible.
“For folks in Upstate New York, farming is more than a job—it’s a way of life. And in this extremely challenging farm economy, we must come together to help our family farmers overcome years of low prices and increased market consolidation. The Family Farmer Relief Act will provide the critical restructuring and repayment flexibility these folks need to get through these hard times without permanently closing their operations,” Delgado said in a release announcing the legislation.
This bill is the House companion to legislation introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), that expands the debt cap that can be covered under Chapter 12 bankruptcy from $3,237,000 to $10,000,000.
“After years of a devastating trade war, Central Valley farmers are facing unprecedented financial challenges that put the livelihoods of thousands of families at risk. It is vital that we give our farmers the tools that they need to survive this downturn, so that the backbone of our Central Valley economy can thrive once again,” Cox said.
Similarly, Armstrong said farmers facing the combination of declining farm income and trade fluctuations, need tools to reorganize debt.
“As farmers face a fifth year of declining net farm incomes, many in rural South Dakota face financial challenges and the fear of foreclosure. During these difficult times, it’s vital family farms have the tools necessary to restructure debt. This common-sense bill will provide another tool for farmers to stay on the farm, continuing to do what they do best – feed our nation,” said Johnson.
The bill will now be referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.